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Monday, November 24, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 11/2/2008

Sylvania, township consider merger

BY ANGIE SCHMITT
BLADE STAFF WRITER

It s not a tax. It s not a merger.

That s been the chorus of the group of volunteers who worked to put a merger commission issue on the ballot in Sylvania and Sylvania Township.

Members of the merger commission advocacy group, One Sylvania, say there s no reason not to examine a potential merger.

We ve got the same schools. We ve got the same fire department, said commission candidate John Jennewine. Let s at least give this a try.

If approved on Tuesday, the ballot issue would authorize a commission of 10 selected candidates five from each community to develop a merger plan. The group would spend a year, or longer, negotiating the details before returning to voters for a final verdict on whether to move forward with a merger.

The merger commission issue will be presented as Issue 8 in Sylvania and Issue 16 in Sylvania Township. A majority vote from each community will be needed for passage.

Opponents of the issue have argued that it would amount to a tax increase for some township residents.

Tom Adam, a spokesman for the merger opposition group, Stop Sylvania Merger, cited a University of Toledo study that found a single government would cost more to operate than the current two combined because the merged community would be responsible for maintaining roads currently managed by the county.

Mr. Adam and the approximately 50 residents who are involved in the anti-merger commission group also have taken issue with the composition of the proposed commission. Because of an annexation that occurred over the last few months, one of the candidates chosen to represent the township, Sam Steinman, is now a resident of the city.

The Ohio attorney general has ruled that Mr. Steinman will be replaced by an appointee of the township trustees if the merger commission issue is approved.

Nobody can afford more government right now, Mr. Adam said. We re doing just fine in the township. We don t feel the need to pay for more studies.

Township trustees voted unanimously to oppose the ballot issue last month.

The UT study completed early last year found some advantages to a merger, namely the shifting of the tax burden to nonresidents.

The study assumed the city s 1.5 percent income tax would be extended to those who work in the township. The income tax would generate an additional $12 million in revenue, about $5 million of which would come from township residents.

The increased revenue would allow the merged community to reduce property taxes for the owner of a $200,000 home by $227 annually for a city resident and $491 for a township resident, the study found.

Townships, by law, cannot levy an income tax, and the UT study noted that dependence on property tax as a sole source of revenue has its drawbacks.

Property taxes, unlike income taxes, don t fluctuate with inflation or cost-of-living and wage increases. The study noted that growth in township property tax revenue could stall as land for residential and commercial development dwindles. This could lead to a decline in service levels.

The study can be viewed in detail at onesylvania.com or visit stopsylvaniamerger.com.

• OTHER ISSUES

Whitehouse voters will consider a charter amendment to establish rules for appointing replacements to vacated council seats, requiring majority vote by remaining members of council. If the seat is vacant for more than 30 days, it can be filled by the mayor.

A second charter amendment would require council meetings to be held at least twice each month. Special meetings could be called at the written request of the mayor or at the request of three council members. In emergency situations, the village administrator could convene meetings.

Elsewhere in Lucas County, voters will decide a number of issues related to fire service, liquor sales, and operating expenses.

• Harbor View: a five-year, 5-mill replacement levy for current expenses.

• Monclova Township: a five-year, 1.5-mill renewal levy to support the fire department.

• Providence Township: a five-year, 2.5-mill renewal levy for the fire department.

• Spencer Township: a new five-year, 2-mill tax for the fire department.

• Springfield Township: a five-year, 1.3-mill renewal levy to support the fire department.

• Washington Township: a 1-mill renewal to fund park expenses for 10 years and a 2.5-mill renewal for a five-year road levy.

Liquor options

• Toledo: To allow the sale of beer, wine, and mixed beverages for off-premises consumption in ward 2, precinct F.

• Toledo: To allow the sale of wine, mixed beverages, and spirituous liquor on Sunday between the hours of 10 a.m. and midnight by Ruby Tuesday restaurant, 5001 Monroe St.

• Maumee: To allow the sale of wine, mixed beverages, and spirituous liquor on Sunday between the hours of 10 a.m. and midnight by Granite City Food and Brewery, 2300 Village Drive West.

• Maumee: To allow the sale of wine, mixed beverages, and spirituous liquor on Sunday between the hours of 10 a.m. and midnight at Longhorn Steakhouse, 459 Dussel Drive.

• Sylvania Township: To allow the sale of beer, wine, and spirituous liquor between the hours of 10 a.m. and midnight by the Giant Eagle store, 6930 West Central Ave.

• Providence Township: To allow the sale of wine, mixed beverages, and spirituous liquors between the hours of 10 a.m. and midnight on Sundays at the Whitehouse Waterville Lodge No. 2537 Loyal Order of Moose, 11900 Jeffers Road, Grand Rapids.

Contact Angie Schmitt at:aschmitt@theblade.comor 419-724-6104



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